In places like California, where quakes are set off by well-understood forces that cause tectonic plates to grind past each other, seismologists can invoke centuries of earthquake statistics. Since 2013, 192 earthquakes bigger than magnitude 2 have hit Harper and Sumner counties, on the border with Oklahoma, up from just two in the previous 35 years. But for the new, induced earthquake regions, the researchers modeled the future hazard based on tremors only in the past year.

Geological Survey (USGS) released a report that, for the first time, accounts for these human-caused, or induced, earthquakes in a map of seismic hazards across the country. Buchanan says that April has been the quietest month for his state since August 2014, with just six earthquakes. The new map highlights 17 areas in eight states with frequent induced earthquakes (see boxed areas on map).

The probability of dangerous levels of ground shaking in some of these areas, such as the one that bleeds from central Oklahoma into southern Kansas, rivals that of California, the traditional earthquake king.

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